5 Dangers Of The Keto Diet That You Should Be Aware OfRandall Smitham July 23, 2019 19 Comments
The 5 Dangers of Keto Diet That You Should Be Aware Of
The ketogenic, or “keto” diet, is among
the newest in a line of weight loss sensations
sweeping the nation.
For those who aren’t already in the know,
this particular brand of dieting prescribes
cutting down significantly on carbohydrates
in your daily meal plan, as little as 50 grams
of carbs per day, and doubling down on foods
rich in fat instead.
This causes your body to undergo a state known
as “ketosis”, which causes your body to
begin burning fat as its primary fuel source
and can theoretically lead to significant
weight loss results.
While the popularity of this new fad diet
continues to climb, the extreme nature of
the diet has people wondering: is the keto
diet really safe?
Today, we’re going to take a closer look
at some of the more harmful hazards and side
effects associated with the keto diet.
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Lack of Proper Nutrition
A standard keto diet limits your intake of
carbohydrates to about 50 grams per day.
At first, this might seem like a simple enough
restriction: just cut back on bread and foods
with a lot of added sugar, right?
Unfortunately, what you might not realize
is that carbs can also be found in more healthy
foods as well, such as most types of fruit
and certain types of vegetables.
And by reducing your intake of those foods
from your diet, you could potentially be short-changing
your body on essential vitamins, minerals
and other nutrients.
This is especially hazardous if you plan on
sticking to keto for a longer period of time.
Cutting back on fruits and veggies for the
sake of keto can also potentially reduce your
intake of fiber, which can result in bloating,
high cholesterol and blood pressure, and digestion-related
problems such as constipation and diarrhea.
When you first begin to undergo the state
of ketosis, one common occurrence is that
you may start feeling sick.
This is what’s known as the “keto flu”
and can happen as a result of your body running
out of sugar to use as fuel and adjusting
to fat instead.
Common symptoms of this keto flu include fatigue
lethargy, vomiting and gastrointestinal distress.
Fortunately, dieticians such as Kristen Kizer
of the Houston Methodist Medical Center suggest
that the symptoms of keto flu usually pass
within a few days of entering ketosis.
It’s also suggested that you can potentially
minimize the symptoms of this transition by
drinking plenty of water and resting, as well
as drinking certain types of tea and other
natural energy sources.
Poor Athletic Performance
The idea that a keto diet can be harmful to
your athletic performance may come as a bit
of surprise; after all, some of the most vocal
supporters and users of the keto diet are
Despite this, there appears to be a significant
body of evidence that suggests that keto can
do more harm than good in terms of your athletic
After all, a lot more goes into an athlete’s
performance than simply their ability to lose
While shedding a few extra pounds can potentially
give an athlete an edge in terms of speed
or endurance, a long-term state of ketosis
can also potentially sap you of other athletic
abilities such as strength.
Among the skeptics who questioned keto’s
value to athletes is Edward Weiss, an associate
professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint
In a study published in the Journal of Sports
Medicine and Physical Fitness, Weiss teamed
up with a group of colleagues to study the
effects of the ketogenic diet on athletes
who performed high-intensity activities such
as cycling and running.
The result was that the athletes performed
worse while under the effects of ketosis;
in fact, the researchers involved were able
to identify a significant drop in performance
after being on the keto diet for a mere 4
According to Weiss, the reason for this dip
in performance is because ketosis puts your
body into a more acidic state, which can potentially
limit your ability to perform at peak levels
when engaged in athletic activity.
In Weiss’s own words:
“Just losing a few pounds is enough to give
you a huge advantage on the bike, but I’m
very concerned that people are attributing
the benefits of weight loss to something specific
in the ketogenic diet […] In reality, the
benefits of weight loss could be at least
partially cancelled out by reductions in performance.”
While we usually tend to assume weight loss
with an overall improvement in terms of personal
health and fitness, it’s important that
we don’t equate the two as one and the same.
As you might have guessed, the keto diet’s
restrictive nature makes it an especially
strict mode of weight loss, often without
much room for deviation.
Because of the rigidity of the keto diet’s
rules, many variations of keto focus on dividing
the diet into several stages with varying
levels of intensity; typically, the first
few months of keto are the strictest, requiring
the dieter to ensure their diet is as low-carb
and high-fat as possible with very little
leeway in the way of cheat days.
After the end of this stage, people on the
keto diet may potentially be allowed to relax
into a less stringent variation of keto, with
slightly more room for carbs or less scrutinous
monitoring of your meal plan.
According to registered dietician Annette
Frain, as soon as you relax your strict adherence
to keto’s rule’s you’re almost inevitably
going to start putting on weight again.
As Frain writes:
“Keto can be a great jump-start to weight
loss, but the reality is that most people
can’t adhere to it for very long […] Often,
people are going into ketosis and losing weight,
then coming out and gaining it back and falling
into this yo-yo pattern, and that’s not
what we want.”
Because of this, health experts and dieticians
advise that the keto diet may not be a feasible
weight loss tool for long-term weight loss.
While you may see desirable results at first,
it’s extremely likely that you’ll start
to gain weight again as soon as you go back
to eating carbs.
According to registered dietician Kristen
Kizer, these frequent back and forth fluctuations
in weight can potentially be a contributing
factor in eating disorders.
As Kizer writes:
“I think this diet appeals to people who
have issues with portion control and with
binge eating […] And in many cases, what
they really need is a lifestyle coach or a
professional counsellor to help them get to
the bottom of those issues.”
Reduced Muscle Mass And Metabolism
As mentioned previously, the keto diet prioritizes
reducing carbs in your diet and consuming
more foods that are high in fat.
Depending on what variation of the keto diet
you subscribe to, this can potentially become
a problem if you’re not making room in your
diet for an adequate amount of protein.
Without an adequate protein intake, you may
be losing weight as a result of keto, but
a lot of that weight loss may be taken from
your body’s muscle mass as opposed to fat.
And by extension, since muscle burns more
calories than fat, a diminished muscle mass
will also cause your metabolism to diminish
By the same token, Kizer warns that if you
deviate from the keto diet, the weight you
gain back most likely won’t come in the
form of muscle.
While you might lose muscle mass from a keto
diet, going back from keto will probably cause
you to gain back that weight as fat instead.
At that point, you no longer have the muscle
mass to burn calories as efficiently as you
did before starting the diet, which can potentially
have lasting negative effects on your resting
metabolic rate in the long run.
Increased Health Risk
In addition to everything else already mentioned,
strict adherence to the keto diet can also
potentially put you at a higher risk for certain
types of disease and other negative health
According to nutritional experts, diets that
place a high emphasis on fat can potentially
raise cholesterol levels in your body, which,
according to some studies, may make you more
likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
A long-term commitment to keto may also have
a lasting effect on your cardiovascular system,
specifically your heart as well as your arteries;
according to results gathered from one study,
people on low-carb diets may have an increased
risk of developing atrial fibrillation, a
disorder that affects your heart’s natural
rhythm and can result in other complications
such as stroke and heart failure.
According to another study by the European
Society of Cardiology, a diet that’s low
in carbs and high in fat may even make you
more susceptible to certain types of cancer.
It’s our hope that this video provides you
with a more complete picture of the pros and
cons of the keto diet, in order to help you
make an informed decision in regards to your
own weight management goals.
But what do you think?
Are you pro-keto or anti-keto?
We’re interested in hearing your feedback,
so be sure to let us know in the comments
section below and help us keep the conversation
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